Skiddaw House to Caldbeck – The Cumbria Way – Day 5. 15 miles taking the high level eastern route over High Pike before ascending grassy slopes and farm paths to the village of Caldbeck.
It’s time for the fifth and penultimate installment of my re-cap of this years long distance walk, The Cumbria Way.
Make sure that you’ve checked out the previous 4 days walks first. To catch up!
Day 5 wasn’t going to be a long one. Well, it wasn’t planned to be. I did get us a bit lost coming off High Pike. Still it was a very scenic day with some excellent views!
Skiddaw House to Caldbeck – The Cumbria Way – Day 5
I loved staying at Skiddaw House, the highest youth hostel in Britain (472m above sea level) and perhaps one of the most remote too.
We’d enjoyed some wine and beer from the hostel shop before settling down to a very peaceful and comfortable nights sleep in our private dorm.
Up at 7 for a breakfast of cereal, toast and plenty of cups of tea, we then made our packed lunches for the day and headed off just after 9am.
It had rained the previous evening. Which is pretty much what you would expect at this altitude. However it was dry and cool with a light breeze as we started our day’s walk from Skiddaw House to Caldbeck.
Make sure you watch my short video in this post to see all the stunning scenery we enjoyed!
As the chief photographer and navigator on the trip, I frequently stopped to take photographs and short videos.
Little did I know all that time that Jen and Lady Lynne were making faces behind my back.
The cheek of it!
I think next time I’ll ask one of them to organise and book the whole trip. As well as film it too!
Anyway. There are two routes you can take from Skiddaw House to get to the village of Caldbeck.
You can either choose to take the low level route or the high level route.
The low level western route is 2½ miles longer and avoids most of the fell tops. This is the route that is most advisable in bad weather.
The high level eastern route, the one we chose, is the most scenic. With stunning views from High Pike. Fortunately the weather was also on our side!
The river Caldew winds its way from high up on Skiddaw mountain (931m), behind Skiddaw House, through the valley between Bowscale Fell and Carrock Fell.
The Caldew eventually ends up in Carlisle, our final destination tomorrow.
At many places on route to Carlise the Caldew was used to power industry. In the Industrial revolution it turned water wheels, powering the looms for the textile mills that used to be in and around Carlise.
After about 4 miles the Cumbria Way leaves the main track and swings left.
Here we join an old road which begins a slight climb North West to the ruins of Carrock Mine.
Carrock Mine was were tungsten was mined mainly for use in wartime.
The mine began in the 1850s on a small-scale basis extracting lead, copper and arsenic.
Then at the turn of the century tungsten was found. Tungsten was used in armaments manufacture and became vital for the war effort.
Originally run by two Germans from 1906 to 1912 the British government took over and ran the mine up until 1918.
Nearly 14,000 tons of ore were mined from this mine (above) during World War one.
However it became increasingly expensive to mine tungsten. So it was only mined when the price was high enough to make the mine economically viable to operate.
Carrick Mine finally closed in 1981 and was bulldozed. Today only the ruins (best seen in the video) and the locked tunnel remain.
After exploring the ruins of the mine we then took a muddy path which climbed uphill following the Grainsgill Beck stream.
We were sheltered from the cool breeze whilst climbing. So it was pretty hot.
The Great Lingy Hut (above) was a welcoming site. Having just climbed 300m it gave us somewhere to sit and enjoy our lunch.
The hut belongs to the Mountain Bothies Association. A charity whose sole aim is “to maintain simple shelters in remote country for the use & benefit of all who love wild & lonely places.”
It would have been quite easy to have taken a nap in the hut. It was extremely comfortable.
We put our foam mats down on the hard wooden benches and proped ourselves against the wall, giving our feet and legs a good rest.
But we were making good time, and there was a pub in Caldbeck we had a date with!
So we left the bothie at about 12.30 and headed to the summit of High Peak. There were fantastic views from the Peak. They can be seen in the short video that accompanies this post.
After another short rest at the summit we then headed off.
Next stop the village of Caldbeck.
Well at least it should have been. Unfortunately instead of heading due North and following the grid lines of my map I wrongly took us in a North Easterly direction.
When I finally worked out where we were with the help of the Google Maps, in order for us to get back on course we had to take a number of farmyard tracks.
Still the day was now warm and bright and there were plenty of lambs in the fields for Jen and Lady Lynne to ooh and aah over. Particularly this one (above) which had escaped from the field and was trying to find a way back in. (It eventually did).
The Cumbria Way joins one of the many walking trails here on the outskirts of the village of Caldbeck.
These paths are old Bridleways and are only suitable for horses, bikes or people.
Vehicles are not allowed. It was nice to see, hear and smell all the wildlife without having to look out for any traffic. There were many birds as well as insects and butterflies here to admire.
Finally at just after 3pm we arrived at the village of Caldbeck.
The first place we headed straight for was the excellent local pub, The Oddfellows.
Our accomodation for the evening was a Bed & Breakfast at Wallace Lane Farm.
When I’d booked us in online at the farm, the owner had advised we should have an evening meal at the pub and they would then pick us up when we were finished.
We were extremely grateful for that lift as otherwise it would have been an hours walk from the pub.
After a couple of pints of local real ale and a hearty dinner of fish and chips, I don’t think I could have been trusted to have gotten us there safely…….
So folks that ends Day 5 of our Cumbria Way Walk, Skiddaw House to Caldbeck.
Be sure to check back soon for the final re-cap, Day 6 Caldbeck to Carlisle.
If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading about our other walking adventures such as our 96 miles hike of The West Highland Way last year or our videos of our coast to coast walk of Hadrian’s Wall.